You can learn a lot about language by looking at what’s not considered language. In an area usually negatively defined as ‘nonlexical’ I introduce the notion of liminal signs. Liminal signs are surprisingly important to the smooth running of the interactional machinery.
We critically review work on the role of iconicity in word learning; introduce a distinction between local and general learning enhancement; observe that most evidence points to the former even if most interpretations assume the latter; and recommend crosslinguistic experiments and new directions to help the field keep its momentum.
Brain-to-brain interfaces promise to bypass language. Here I argue that if we want truly humane brain-to-brain interfaces, we find something like language slipping in through the back door. It wouldn’t be the first time language reinvents itself, and it won’t be the last.
Mostly for historical reasons I preserve a few reports and essays that have attracted some citations and secondary uses over the years.
Openness is crucial for cumulative science. PDFs on this page are made available under the Taverne amendment to Dutch copyright law, which allows researchers based in The Netherlands to openly share their publicly funded work.